May 4, 2009

Swine Flu Epidemic Crossing Open Borders

We have all been following the Swine Flu epidemic since it was reported. I hope that our numbers here will not be as vast as Mexico is experiencing. My concern has been the reluctance by our government to close our borders until this virus is eliminated. So, I started digging in to find the real reason for their unwillingness to act. Seems some city officials are opposing border closings too. Let’s examine the potential for a serious pandemic within our country and worldwide.

Borders Remain Open

  • In the first two months of 2009, there were 297,478 individuals traveling north from Mexico, and 284,662 individuals traveling south into Mexico.

  • In February of this year, Mexico imported a total of $22 billion dollars in goods into America; we exported a total of $16 billion dollars of goods into Mexico. Am I the only one who sees inequality here?

  • There were 500,000 truckers crossing the border into Mexico, while 370,000 truckers crossed the Mexico border traveling north. Hmm, maybe we corrected a bit of the inequality here.

As usual, it comes down to MONEY and that’s, where our political leaders always place the importance. Our lives and safety mean nothing we are just the cost of doing business! Many citizens have been quite vocal with their demands to CLOSE our borders until this flu epidemic is eliminated.

Is Mexico safe to visit right now---ABSOULTLY NOT! Teams of doctors and research specialist have established Mexico as “ground zero” for this epidemic. A five-year-old boy in Matamoros, on the Mexican border with Texas, was the first person stricken by the virus. He is healthy now and I personally was pleased to hear that. Regrettably, a 23-month-old child died in Texas from Swine Flu. His parents drove from Mexico into Texas seeking help for his illness.

This particular flu virus is similar to the human flu virus, which means it constantly changes properties. The latest reports have stated it is a combination of the following five virus strains: Human-Northern Pig-Asian Pig-European Pig and Bird Flu. They also stated that it is showing a resistance to some types of anti-viral medications. It affects the respiratory area, which hinders ones breathing. If you experience any of the following, symptoms check with your doctor.

Symptoms

  • Fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

To date (per the CDC) the H1N1--Swine Flu symptoms are unknown but thought to be the same as the seasonal flu symptoms shown above. Those at risk are people aged 65 and older, children under 5 years, pregnant women, any individuals with a chronic medical condition, and/or HIV.

Avoid Contact With Others

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with others except to seek medical care. When seeking medical care wear a mask since you will be in contact with other individuals traveling to the doctor and in his or her office. You should avoid as much contact as possible with others to prevent spreading the disease. Seasonal flu studies have indicated that people may be contagious one day prior to the onset of symptoms and up to 7 days after they get sick. Children might be contagious for a longer period.

Treatment

Antiviral drugs can be given to those who are severely ill with the influenza. These are prescription medications with activity fight against influenza virus including the H1N1. A health care professional must prescribe these treatments. There is a protocol on distribution of the antiviral drugs so be sure to check with your doctor.

Protect Yourself and Others

  • Stay informed with new information.

  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand cleaners.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

  • If you develop flu like symptoms say home until your symptom free.

  • Learn how to take care of someone that is ill.

  • Follow public health advice like avoiding crowds, schools closures, etc.

Stay informed--and stay well….

While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us. ~~Ben Franklin

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